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January 10th, 2010 #1
What Does A Successful Concept Art Portfolio Look Like?
Taken from the BioWare Post
What You Need
To be a Concept Artist for the games industry, you need the following:
- IMAGINATION – if you don't have this as a foundation, you will never draw anything uniquely cool or interesting. We have seen plenty of great renderers with no imagination. Those portfolios are tough because the work looks good, but there is not an original idea in the bunch.
- Next would be the raw ability to draw. Draw, Draw, Draw, as they say. You have to draw more than the next guy to get the job.
- Ability to communicate your idea quickly, both verbally and through your drawings. You also must be able to receive and give constructive and balanced critiques. This is in the top 4 attributes. It is so important to work with the team and not be the lone gunman.
- Good color sense. A mastery of color and how it relates is essential.
- Ability to create mood with lighting and atmosphere. Most environment pieces are all about the moods they evoke. Composition is also very important.
- Ability to work in different styles. It's great to show off your style, but also show how you can mimic and adapt to other styles of rendering. This makes any concept artist more valuable.
- Ability to deliver something that is better than what was asked for, yet still meets all the criteria, on time, and the iterations well-communicated.
What do we look for in a portfolio?
We look to see if the concept artist has a range of subject matter. We look for as many of the following, as well-executed as possible:
- Characters – We like to see personality and "story" in the character. The drawing should answer many questions, but also invite the audience to ask even more, compelling them to want to learn more about the character. Have a sheet of facial expressions of the same character to show different moods and attitudes.
- Costumes – This is a chance to show off your sense of fashion. The costume is part of the character. Tell more of the story, showing the same character in different clothing as a good exercise. The clothing should have the right balance of form and function.
- Creatures – Must be believable, i.e., through the study of real animal/human musculature and skeletal structure, create a creature you believe can move, eat, fight, breed, and so on.
- Environments – Natural exterior environments that features organic structure and flora. Lighting, color and mood are essential.
- Environments – Exterior environments that feature architecture. These should be integrated into the landscapes that surround them. Must show a command of perspective, an understanding or architectural design, show the influences of various geographic and historical influences. We like to see this mixed with a bit of fantasy or sci-fi. A good split for "real" versus "imagined" architecture is about 70/30 - so a subtle approach to integrating fantasy into a concept.
- Environments – Interiors should have everything from the above point, but from the inside.
- Tech – We like to see how a concept artist understands technical things. How does a machine fit together? When you look at the drawing, can you imagine it working? This can be a fantastic catapult with gears and levers, or it can be a futuristic device. Both should look like they can work, have a sense of industrial design that reflects the culture and time they come from, and of course, look cool.
- Vehicles – Believe it or not, it is hard to find people who are really good at this, so it's one other thing we look for to help balance our team of concept artists. See tech above. Good vehicles can make or break a game (especially if the game play revolves around driving).
Keep in mind we don't expect a single person to excel at all the subject matter. Most people have their favourite thing they grew up drawing. But try to include as many of the above as possible. I remember we had someone apply who said they would like a job as a female character artist, and sure enough he was an expert at depicting the female form! However, for the size of our studio (and for the size of most game studios) this request is too specialized for us.
Please also include personal work, sketchbook material, and figure drawing studies.
Concept art is the most competitive space in video game art. So your submission has to look better than the competition. Select only the best pieces to feature in your portfolio. Visiting websites or forums that feature concept artists or concept art for critique and comment is a good sounding board.
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January 11th, 2010 #2
January 11th, 2010 #3Registered User
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January 11th, 2010 #4
January 11th, 2010 #5
January 11th, 2010 #6Registered User
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I love concept art ... and I love this being posted ... I would just like to point out though that this is helpful no matter what! even if your not particularly a concept artist with a desire to draw the never ending set of sequals to a popular game about pig aliens with wings that fart on humans for fun. personally I aspire to use concept art to make abstract animation or the frank rabbit from donnie darko ... I have an extreme interest in make up design and I love movies... but if they're still working on duke nukem forever when I've done everything else I will deffinately try and help with that...
anyway thank you
January 11th, 2010 #7
January 11th, 2010 #8
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Ian Barker For This Useful Post:
January 12th, 2010 #9
January 13th, 2010 #10
I approve of what you have said here, Amber.
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January 13th, 2010 #11
This is good to see. So you know what they expect out of yah!
Great Stuff ^^
Art is Experience, Experience is Art
MY CA Sketchbook
January 20th, 2010 #12
January 24th, 2010 #13
This is some good information!! Thanks for sharing it with us!
My sketchbook: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=177847
Finished work: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=177948
Deviantart page: http://desertfire.deviantart.com/
January 24th, 2010 #14Registered User
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Great information, thank you.
January 26th, 2010 #15
January 27th, 2010 #16
February 3rd, 2010 #17Registered User
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I'm a newbie here, wow reading this post really encouraging my self to be better every time I draw, thanks a lot!
February 4th, 2010 #18mhm
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I know what to look for now
February 8th, 2010 #19
Awesome infos, this is very helpful
February 14th, 2010 #20Registered User
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Always nice to know that there are people out there that care for he little guy. This will most defiantly make everyone's portfolio a lot better!
February 26th, 2010 #21
February 28th, 2010 #22
July 11th, 2010 #23
thanks al lot...this list can help us alot =)
MY NEW SKETCHBOOK!!!!
July 13th, 2010 #24
This info is golden.
July 13th, 2010 #25
Thank you for posting this, the info given here is golden.
Stop your grinning and drop your linen! Found them!
July 13th, 2010 #26
That's a good summary. One thing I would add is having 'Production Art'. Not just sexy pin-ups and illustrations but practical illustrations a 3D artist can use and build assets from. I've been in a games a few years, and as a recruiter I look for practical, day to day art that is clear, functional and can be readily translated by modelers and 3D Artists.
Here's some examples of top pros that I look up to and I had to compete with for jobs when I was working in Socal.
1. Peter Han = well balanced subjectmatter, ie. characters AND enviro, props, ;versatile; production ready art and all-around bad-ass-ery
2. Darren Quach = L.A./Art Center style environment and industrial design mastery:
3. Francis Tsai = top freelancer ; balance of comics, games and illustration
Hope those examples help,
July 14th, 2010 #27
July 22nd, 2010 #28
WOW. That's alot of..everything. I didn't expect anything less haha but that seems just...I don't know. It makes me realize just how hard I gotta work and it's a long way to go until I can see myself in even half of those steps. This summary definitely gave me something to think about. I think I'm going to write it (not add to favourites, not print, not copy n paste, but WRITE) down and really think about it.
For a person like me it's so typical and natural to think that I'll never meet with the requirements but I think that I want this too much haha. For once my stubborness is a good thing! Anyway, thank you so much for this. I know that many people find this thread very useful.
July 24th, 2010 #29
August 9th, 2011 #30Registered User
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Although that is all good stuff to know I think it's misleading and a bit daunting to create list of everything in the universe and say, "This is what makes you hire-able" I worked as Senior Concept Artist on Uncharted 1 and Uncharted 2, and in 4 years I don't think I did one "Drawing" in the traditional sense. We did only paintings. We don't "draw" anymore.. at least not for drawings sake. Drawing is just for THINKING OUT IMAGINARY THINGS. The more fantastical, the more drawing is necessary, but again ONLY to actually work it out, not to have a sexy drawing. The reason is drawing is an antiquated art form for concepting (not for art generally). Most of us can do 5 quick paintings in photoshop with links to usable photo reference in the time that someone else can do one lovingly rendered drawing.
This is Bioware's wish list so I understand why they would say that, but most games are realistic so you would never sit down and start drawing buildings in Iraq for the next Call of Duty game, you would do a 3 hour photo search for Bagdad, collect reference, and then make an awesome composition out of the images you found picking what you thought worked best and making an epic shot using a combo of quick painting, lighting knowledge gained from observing life and photos, and perhaps some photo compositing. I think well composed IMAGES, painted quickly (2 hours) and in full color are the main indicator of experience and the artists "eye." Everything else can be researched.
If I was starting out I would say don't worry about everything on that list. Pick a story from a book or movie and design/re-imagine it based on your knowledge and what the story is. Look at what's done in that genre and keep it classy, not video-gamey (meaning be SPARING with the amount of buckles swords and shit you put on everything... just look at actual movies for examples. Download Power DVD 11 and watch your favorite film with the sound off and capture frames to get you started. Most importantly do the kind of work you want to get. So if you like Final Fantasy style stuff then make your stuff like that. Just keep in mind most games are going for photo-realistic and that realism skills trump every other in this business
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